Hamas will not agree to any ceasefire that does not “meet the demands of the Palestinian people”, the group’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said on Monday night.
In a televised address in which he responded to reports that Egypt had proposed a ceasefire that will go into effect at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, Haniyeh said, “We will not agree to any ceasefire that does not cater to the demands of the Palestinian people and brings honor to its victims.”
“Today we are facing an important stage in the conflict with the Israeli occupation. Years of a blockade did not prevent our resistance from taking all possible measures to protect the Palestinian people,” he added.
“The Zionist enemy forced the war on us and planned it. Today we are fulfilling our duty to protect our people and our honor,” declared Haniyeh.
Haniyeh’s comments echo those of a Hamas official who reiterated earlier Monday that the group would not accept any deal without Israel meeting several harsh conditions for a truce, including releasing terrorists and stopping a blockade.
Israeli media reported on Monday night that the proposed ceasefire by Egypt does not include a removal of weaponry from Gaza but is expected to result in a weakened Hamas.
The Cabinet is expected to meet early Tuesday morning, discuss the proposal and vote on it. Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett is expected to vote against it, as is Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, head of Yisrael Beytenu.
Israel reportedly offered Hamas a 40-hour cease-fire last week, sources said Sunday afternoon, which Hamas immediately rejected.
Nationalist MKs expressed outrage over the proposed ceasefire on Monday night, warning that a ceasefire at this time will only make Hamas stronger.